[Documents menu] Documents menu

Sender: owner-imap@webmap.missouri.edu
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 97 09:54:47 CDT
Subject: Turkey—Military Coup Approaches
Article: 12677

Military coup in Turkey aided and abbetted by both U.S. and Israel

Mid-East Realities, 13 June 1997

MER—Make no mistake about it. The military coup in Turkey—already de facto, likely to soon become de jure—would not be taking place but for the encouragement and support of both Israel and the U.S. The most senior military leaders in Turkey have made both public and secret trips to the U.S. and Israel in recent months. Egypt is also implicated, hoping to further stem the tide of its own Islamic/nationalist underground.

In recent months the U.S. has provided the Turkish military with photo-intelligence secrets to assist their invasion of Northern Iraq and destruction of the Kurdish insurgency.

The Israeli military has begun working increasingly closely with their Turkish counterparts, eager to further threaten Syria and to prevent a coalition of Islamic and nationalist forces which might present a military challenge to Israeli regional hegemony.

And the Israeli/Jewish lobby in the U.S.—ng their allies at the influential Washington Post newspaper&38212;en all but publicly endorsing a Turkish military take-over for many months now. Lally Weymouth, daughter of Post owner Katherine Graham and essentially a card-carrying member of the Israeli lobby, has all but endorsed a Turkish Army coup in her editorial page columns.

Turkey may be on the road to becoming another bloody Algeria, which descended into civil war earlier in this decade when the Algerian military took over and prevented an Islamic nationalist electoral victory. The dike will probably hold for awhile; but when the flood comes it will be more violent than would otherwise have been the case.

This recent AP story gives some useful background but fails to go into the U.S. and Israeli roles in what is taking place today.


By Zeynep Alemdar, AP, 12 June 1997

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) 6/12/97—Fears of a military coup intensified in Turkey today, prompted by the harshest warning yet from the powerful armed forces to the Islamic-led government.

In a rare briefing for journalists, the military declared Wednesday that a violent Islamic uprising was near and that it was prepared to use force to stop it.

Last warning from the army, read the headlines today in the nation’s two leading newspapers, Milliyet and Yeni Yuzyil.

The only thing missing was the date of the coup, wrote Derya Sazak, another daily newspaper.

The military has staged coups three times in this NATO-member country since 1960. The army, which sees itself as the guarantor of modern Turkey’s secular traditions, has been uneasy since Islamic Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan’s coalition government took power 11 months ago.

The military repeatedly has ordered Erbakan to curb his pro-Islam policies. But the Islamic leader has remained defiant.

Radical Islamic activities have gained momentum towards a civil uprising, Gen. Fevzi Turkeri said Wednesday. The basic principles of the Turkish republic cannot be changed, will not be changed.

Turkeri added that Turkish law obliges the armed forces to protect the nation. The Turkish military is in a position to define a mission for itself under these circumstances, he said.

The warning apparently shook the government.

Deputies from the pro-Western, center-right True Path held an emergency party meeting late Wednesday to try to pressure their leader, Deputy Premier Tansu Ciller, to withdraw from the coalition with Erbakan’s Welfare Party.

There is a reality of a (pending) coup in the country. We have to pull out of the government urgently, the daily Hurriyet quoted True Path deputy Osman Sonmez as saying.

Sonmez refused to comment on his reported remarks today, but other politicians also predicted a coup.

The soldiers are openly saying We are coming, said Sinan Yerlikaya of the opposition Republican People’s Party.

Last month, Erbakan agreed to a power swap with Mrs. Ciller in mid-June, but he has been stalling, saying he is waiting for an election date to be set.

Apparently failing to convince Mrs. Ciller to give up power, the party issued an ultimatum to Erbakan late Wednesday and said if the handover of the premiership did not take place before June 18, the coalition partnership would come to an end.

But even if Mrs. Ciller becomes prime minister, Erbakan’s party will still maintain key positions in the Cabinet—a situation that is unlikely to satisfy the generals.

At Wednesday’s briefing, the generals showed a video with images of pro-Welfare rallies where green Islamic flags flew, Welfare deputies vowed to work for an Islamic regime and Islamic leaders dined with the prime minister.

Turkey is a predominately Muslim country with an officially secular structure. The NATO country has a longstanding bid to become full member at the European Union.

The military is also upset over Erbakan’s efforts to get Turkey closer with the Islamic world.

Political Islam works closely with Iran and some other Islamic countries to pull Turkey into an endless darkness ... away from Western civilization, said Turkeri, the chief of counterintelligence at the general staff.

The tug-of-war between the generals and the government began in February, when the military told Erbakan to roll back some of his policies. A key demand was closing religious schools and courses.

Instead of complying, Turkeri said, the government launched a counteroffensive, at one point rallying more than 100,000 people to a demonstration.